What are shrubs exactly and how are they used?
Shrubs are a type of syrup / fruit preserve that use vinegar and sugar to extract flavor from ingredients. A “tart syrup” is probably the easiest way to describe their flavor profile. They are used to sweeten and flavor beverages. In the case of Nostrum shrubs, I designed them to provide the “body” of the drink, so that all you need otherwise is your booze of choice and easy ingredients like citrus juice or soda water.
Where do you produce your shrubs? What’s the process like?
I produce them in Kearny Mesa at a new bar called Realm of the 52 Remedies, where I also work as bartender. The process is pretty straightforward: I infuse all of our ingredients with vinegar and sugar, and when the batch achieves a desired balance, I strain the solids out and bottle it.
Who’s behind Nostrum?
It’s pretty much just me. I have a few friends that help me with bottling and sales sometimes. I started making them about four years ago when I first got into bartending. I really liked the way they made prep more convenient and allowed you to pack in a lot of different flavors into one bottle.
How do you come up with your flavor combinations?
I generally start with a base fruit that’s in season or that I want to work with. I try to source that part locally whenever possible. From there, I come up with two to three other complementary ingredients that sound like they would work well in a cocktail or soda.
Meet owner/maker Lucas Ryden this Saturday at Collins & Coupe, where you can try all the flavors for free between 12 and 2 p.m. Can’t make that time? The store is offering 15% off Nostrum products all day.